Absolute scandal of Aviva's 32,500 'lost' fans
Published 13/01/2010 | 05:00
LET'S get this straight. International soccer and rugby won't be played in Croke Park after this year because of a commitment to an insurance company, which will pay €4m annually to the FAI and IRFU, and due to a deal with hot-dog and other catering service providers.
"We sold the naming rights to AVIVA for 10 years. We have a catering contract for 21 years and we have been selling seats and boxes for a period of 10 years," said FAI chief executive John Delaney.
"We made decisions on that basis which now make it impossible for us to play any games of the international variety in Croke Park."
So there you have it. Games will be played at the 50,000-capacity Lansdowne Road while the 82,500-capacity Croke Park slumbers peacefully a few miles across the Liffey. Ordinary fans -- or in this case 32,500 of them -- won't be able to attend rugby or soccer internationals once they return to Lansdowne Road.
And why? Because of a deal with an insurance company which, presumably, will fund the €4m annual sponsorship fee from premiums paid for by the public, many of whom will no longer be able to source tickets for the big games.
That, plus the deal with caterers, is how stadium policy operates in Ireland.
If we had an even half-efficient Sports Minister, he would have stepped in a long time ago to prevent what will be an absolute scandal. Whichever way you look at it, it's a screw-the-public arrangement. Now why should we surprised by that?